a group of Tracy football fans is also preparing for a full-throttle launch into the season.
The 304 Boys Fantasy Football League of Tracy has its kickoff event for the season on Saturday, Sept. 1, in its own arena on rural Banta Road.
“Usually, our draft days are pretty extensive,” said league member Johnnie Oh. “We do full-on introductions and have a full P.A. (public address) system. I just went and finalized all of the rental equipment for the podium, stage, lights, smoke machine, all that kind of stuff. We build a tunnel to come out for introductions. It’s pretty fun.”
The 304 Boys, named for the zip code, 95304, of the rural areas south of Tracy where most of them grew up, created their fantasy football league in 2004. The group was a way for them to maintain the friendships they formed as football players at Tracy High in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The league stays at 12 members, and their exploits during the year are documented in a full-color glossy program that Stroup designs and produces each year.
Fantasy football draft day is always a big event, and this year, it’s even bigger because XM Fantasy Sports Radio host John “The Guru” Hansen — one of the top celebrities of the fantasy football world — is coming to broadcast live from the 304 Boys draft event.
“It’s like the contest was meant for us,” said league commissioner Vince Stroup. “We take it over the top with all of the extra stuff we do. When we heard about this contest, we had to enter.”
Hansen is well-respected for his knowledge and insights about fantasy football.
“In the fantasy world, this is a pretty big honor,” Stroup said.
Oh noted that the league won in a nationwide vote after the 304 Boys announced on Twitter that they had entered the contest for the live broadcast and had created a YouTube video promoting their league’s draft. The announcement spread quickly when it was retweeted by local celebrities, such as rapper MC Hammer and Matt Overton of the Indianapolis Colts, a Tracy High School alumnus.
This week, the league members are preparing the large workshop in Stroup’s backyard as a production studio in anticipation of Hansen’s arrival on Saturday from New Jersey when he will broadcast from noon to 3 p.m.
Draft day is always an elaborate event, as is Week 7, when the 12 members have their rivalry week. The end of the season brings them together again for awards, including a green blazer for the winner, and sharp whacks with a paddle on the rear end for whoever loses by the biggest margin.
“The punishment for coming in last is that you’re the centerfold of the magazine,” Oh said, noting that league member Nate Dell’Aringa posed shirtless and oiled down for this year’s issue. “That’s why no one wants to come in last.”
Other members include Stroup’s brothers Garrett and Stephen Stroup, Dell’Aringa’s brothers Bobby and Dante Dell’Aringa, and Lucas Odom, Jeff Costa, Joe Snelling, Nathan Moore and Nathan Fagundes, the lone West High graduate in the group.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.